Deciding upon a course of action, Droverson and Darius used their disguise spells to assume new shapes and search for more rumors about the tower of Gilmagar Rujao. Kael trailed along with them using his stealth skills. Hazerath elected to stay in the abandoned warehouse and read the book that he had taken from LuShen Mon, while Tomokk stayed behind to guard Hazerath.
En route to local taverns and shops, the first party was again ambushed by The Mysterious Man. Kael, catching sight of their foe as he prepared to fire, yelled out " ROSCOE! " and the two traded arrows, injuring each other. As the two rangers jockeyed for tactical positions around a building, Darius caught sight of the combat and began moving towards the Mysterious Man. At the sight of the disguised gambler, the Mysterious Man grinned an evil grin, then shot Darius with a deadly arrow which left him bleeding out in the street. Droverson yelled for Kael’s help, and Kael was forced to let the Mysterious Man escape in order to save Darius’s life.
Meanwhile, back at the warehouse, Hazerath began to enact a dark rite using the black book he had been reading, tracing lines and runes of blood on the floor. As the rite progressed, the room began to fill with shadows and cold, and Tomokk fled outside in trepidation. Inside, Hazerath began to feel drains on his life force as he battled with shadows for his soul. In the end, however, he was successful, mastering the dark energy and transforming himself into a Shadow-Walker.
Shortly thereafter, the party returned, badly wounded, and spent a day resting and healing. After recuperating, Darius, Droverson, and Kael again ventured forth, later returning with a bounty of rumors. In addition to finding the location of Gilmagar’s tower, they also heard of a crushing defeat of The Liberating Army by The Darklands Army which may have resulted in the death of Light-Lord Durett, a mysterious tidal wave badly damaging the city of Lutus, and of a rash of killings in Villia, where the killer had been painting “VENGEANCE” on the walls in blood. The city was also buzzing with rumors of their previous day’s actions involving LuShen Mon. Undaunted, the party made their way to the outskirts of the city and approached Gilmagar’s tower.
The tower was a large, square building which had at one time fallen into disrepair, but had been patched together with large chunks of other buildings sealed into its surface with Stone Shape spells, according to Droverson. Kael tried to unlock the door, but was shocked by a cunning nonmagical electricity trap. After several attempts to climb the outside of the tower resulted in painful falls for Tomokk, the half-orc became angry and smashed the heavy metal doors apart in fury. Inside, the party faced and defeated a lesser cadaver collector golem in a room full of corpses and body parts. They also located a large room with writing all over the walls and floor – endless ravings about “the red and the blue and the brown” and “the time of cleansing” as well as the relentlessly repeated phrase “THEY WAIT”. Droverson, seeing the writings, guessed that Gil might have been reading The Zoretha Scrolls. After making their way through a room filled waist-deep with broken cups and glasses, the party ascended to the second level of the tower.
Drawn in by the temptation of an illusory library, Droverson triggered a magical trap which summoned four dretches and set off a loud alarm. After quickly defeating the pitiful demons, the party charged up the stairs but was quickly attacked by a dangerous blood golem, encased in an iron suit. Several members of the party were badly wounded, but Tomokk used his Gauntlet of Rust to destroy the golem’s iron armor, weakening it significantly, and Kael was able to dispatch it with his newly-effective arrows. After healing up, the party went up the final set of stairs.
At the top of the tower, the party was confronted by a confusing room made of jagged stone shapes. Suddenly, Gilmagar Rujao burst out of hiding and blasted the party with a powerful Fireball. Wrapped in a coccoon of protective spells, the mad mage cackled and babbled to himself as the party’s attacks slowly weakened him, but still managed to unleash a vicious Empowered Scorching Ray which badly wounded Darius. Finally, as Tomokk and Hazerath flanked and hacked away at the mage, Droverson unleashed a barrage of powerful Lightning Bolts which sent his insane former classmate to his final reward. “Now you’re a good Gil”, remarked Droverson as Kael extracted the mage’s tooth for a trophy.
Zoretha scrolls in hand, the party looted the mage’s corpse and recovered a tidy sum of platinum as well as a few minor magic items. They were already planning how to spend their newfound wealth…